Transport of Wine Over Long Distances


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WSC5.05 Intro To Wine Business Assignment One

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  • The very earliest wine was most likely transported in skins, bladders, or some organic material.  Clay is a perfect material because it can be formed into countless shapes and sizes. Even better, when dried and fired, the resulting pottery is nearly indestructible Hundreds of pottery jars have been found in various sites in Egypt. The quantity of wine indicated by the Egyptian pottery remnants however, was more than Egypt itself was likely to have produced, which means it had to be brought from elsewhere.  Tests on the pottery shows that many of the containers and wine originated somewhere other than Egypt.  Most likely they were brought in by Phoenicians, who dominated the early wine trade.  Phoenician shipwrecks have been found containing hundreds of jars of wine destined for foreign ports. (Greg, 2009)
  • Both the Phoenicians and the Greeks were shipping nations.  They transported a variety of goods far from their homes. Extremely large clay pots filled with vinegar, wine, oil, salt, or meat would be heavy to load and if broken, would result in the loss of much valuable cargo.  For shipping, smaller containers made sense. On the other hand, it is less efficient and more labor-intensive to load many small containers than a few large ones, so if they were to be smaller, the containers had to be easy to load in quantity.  This is where the creation on the Amphora emerged.A rope could be passed through the handles of several at once and they could then be hoisted together, resembling a bunch of grapes. The long shape and tapered bottom made them easy to fit into stands or packed into ships. When the customer received his amphora, the same shape made it easy to pour from, in the same way a bottle is easier to pour from than a round or bulbous container.  It could be rested on the ground and tipped forward to pour the contents into smaller containers for consumption. The long narrow neck would both accommodate any pressure from gases in the container and would also minimize the area that was exposed to oxygen.  The tapered bottom concentrated sediment and made it easy to sink the amphora into the earth for storage and cooling, and to pull it back out. (Greg, 2009)
  • The first storage barrels were not made for wine, more likely they were for beer, because the Gauls did not actually produce wine until the Romans established a presence. The Romans were realised that the wooden barrel was better than clay amphorae for transporting wine or other liquids. Wood barrels are both lighter and stronger than clay. Also, because they are bowed, when put on their sides they can be rolled by one man with little energy - the surface that is touching the ground is very small relative to the size of the container so there is far less friction than there would be if the barrel were straight-sided. (Greg, 2009)
  • Although the transport of wine through container ships has the downside of a lengthy delivery time (shipment from New Zealand to Europe generally takes 6 -10 weeks), there are many added benefits such as reduced cost and larger quantities.JFHillebrand offers an air freight service that guarantees delivery of your wine to any destination in less than a week.
  • The choice that consumers have when deciding on which wine to purchase is vast, if a producer does not have there product in the market, they miss an opportunity. In turn, he transport of wine is unavoidable as the consumer demand rises.
  • Air vs. sea freight? Huge difference in cost, often up to four times the amount. The majority of wineries are also not located close to a major port so land transport also becomes a factor.Refrigerated containers, data logging, packaging materials. All the elements that get the wine from point A to B factor into the final shipping cost.Temperature plays a hug part in maximising the quality of a wine. During transport this is out of the wineries control, but there are measures you can put in place to reduce the risks. Refrigerated containers, although expensive, are becoming increasingly popular especially in the fine wine market.Seasonal weather changes are a contributing factor to the cost and timing of your wine transport as temperature control is more important during the warmer months.Protein stability tests using bentonite have been implemented by The Australian Wine Research Institute to effectively predict protein stability during transport and storage.Choosing the right bottle, closure, labels and packaging materials all contribute minimising breakages and spoilage of the wine during transport.
  • There are two options for shipping in bulk, either a standard ISO container or a flexi tank (bladder or inner liner designed to fit inside a standard 20 foot ISO shipping container).The use of bulk importation is well-established to the UK, especially to serve the burgeoning supermarket own-label business. Around one bottle in five is actually brought into the country in such containers for bulk goods. Three advantages are promoted by the bulk transport industry – shipping costs can be reduced by up to 40%, the European Union’s lower, common custom tariff is levied on containers exceeding 2l, which reduces the total duty per unit, and British bottle prices are often lower than in the producer country. (Graham, 2007)
  • Refrigerated containers allow the customer to set a specific temperature that will be maintained throughout the journey.What is VinLiner? Wine and spirits are high value, perishable products, sensitive to changes in temperature. Varying climates and unpredictable climatic conditions around the world can lead to your cargo suffering exposure to rapid temperature shifts, both in transit over land and sea, and on quay. Your wines are frequently exposed to harsh and unforeseen extremes of humidity and temperature – adversely affecting quality and potentially damaging your product. JF Hillebrand has developed a cost-effective solution to improve protection, designed entirely for the global wine and spirits market: VinLiner. VinLiner is a protective liner foil system, fitted to dry containers, or covering pallets. VinLiner reduces the effect that thermal shocks and humidity infiltration cause to sensitive cargoes during transportation. (
  • CarboNZero certification is achieved by contributing no net carbon dioxide emissions into the atmosphere.The New Zealand Wine Company set itself the challenge in 2007 to address the impact of carbon dioxide emissions associated with use of electricity and fossil fuels for the production and distribution of its wine. CarboNZero certification involves three key steps – measuring, managing toward reduced emissions and finally offsetting the remaining unavoidable emissions. (Graham, 2007)
  • Philip Gregan, CEO of New Zealand Winegrowers says “I believe food miles for most people represent a genuine concern about the environment. However the implication that because a product comes from far away it must use more energy in the transportation is flawed as it completely ignores the energy used in the total life cycle of a product. However there is no doubt some groups or people are using the concept for their own ends, such as protectionism.

“New Zealand wines are exported by sea to the UK, not by air. This mode uses less carbon emissions per kilometre than by air or even road. There is a concern about climate change in many parts of the world, but only in Britain have we really seen concerns about food miles. In fact the term says it all - 'miles', in the rest of Europe it would be 'kilometres'.
  • Originally introduced in half bottle sizes and smaller, for outdoor events and in-flight consumption, the PET bottle has been tested by some of the larger Australian wine producers, such as Wolf Blass, in 750ml bottles on their Canadian market. A spokesperson for the company spelt out the advantages of switching to PET bottles. ““The 750ml PET wine bottle is completely recyclable and weighs just 54g prior to filling, offering an immediate 85% reduction in packaging weight. PET is often returned to use in food contact packaging, creating a closed recycling loop,” he says. Thought was given to ensuring the introduction of the new material presented few problems for the trade and consumer. The bottles were designed to be a little shorter than traditional glass wine bottles to allow them to fit into the refrigerator door more easily while still fitting standard wine racks.

“Wolf Blass tested the 750ml PET concept and found that consumers are looking for ways to increase occasions for wine, without always having to worry about the breakage potential or weight of glass. With the popularity of wine on the rise and constant reliance on convenience, consumers want more flexible options,”Although PET has clear advantages over glass, the perception of fine wine in plastic is unlikely to take hold in the wider market. Journalist and BBC wine broadcaster Andrew Jefford suggests the wide introduction of PET bottles will take time and involve marketing strategies, but is not impossible. “When synthetic corks were introduced, serious wine drinkers swore they would never accept them. Resistance can be over-come in time,” he says. “A key route would be their initial use by brands associated with new trends, such as organic wine and eco-consciousness”. (Graham, 2007)
  • Transport of Wine Over Long Distances

    1. 1. Wine is bulky, heavy and perishable. Transport of wine over long distances(or under difficult conditions) is challenging and can be expensive and risky. Discuss the reason that wine has been transported, and the way carriers have met these challenges over time. VENITA SIMCOX August 2012
    2. 2. The Early Days Grape residue found on a 9000 year old terra cotta pot in China has been argued to be the worlds first known wine. The majority of experts believe that wine as we know it today was discovered in Europe, tracing its origins to the Caucasus Mountains, near Georgia, close to 5000 years B.C.
    3. 3. Ancient Vessel  Amphora Invented by the Canaanites. Created mainly in ceramic, rare instances of metal, stone or glass. Thin neck for pouring, a handle either side (designed to be carried by two people) and a long pointed base. Used for storing and shipping wine, held in racks with specifically designed holes.
    4. 4. Vessel Progression Wood barrels were introduced sometime around 50 B.C. and were gradually recognised as a better alternative over terra cotta jugs for both storage and transport. Adopted by the Romans, the Gauls are credited with their invention. Not until the 17th century were glass bottles introduced.
    5. 5. Early Transport Journeys overland were long and treacherous as much of Europe was plagued with war.  Where possible, wine was transported over the water on large wooden sailing ships. This fifteenth century illustration of the King of France riding into the harbour at Sluys in Flanders shows the rounded wine ships, or cogs, used in the wine fleets of the Middle Ages. The largest cogs could hold over 200 barrels
    6. 6. Modern Times Although the technology involved in all aspects of wine making has greatly evolved, the main method for long distance transport has stayed the same; shipping. Transporting wine via air freight, although considerably faster, is significantly more expensive and the available space onboard is limited. Motor Vessel Old Wine, a wine tanker built in 1964
    7. 7. Supply and Demand Consumers want diversity, quality and affordability in the wine they purchase. Producers want their wine to reach as many markets as possible. These simple ideas drive the supply of wine both domestically and internationally, forcing suppliers to continually search for cheaper, more effective ways to transport their product.
    8. 8. ChallengesMany issues are faced by the wineries in making transport decisions. Cost Quality control Timing Breakages/spoilage Environmental concerns
    9. 9. Bulk vs BottledShipping wine in bulk, although it has long beenassociated with cheap, low quality wine, has manybenefits. Less prone to experiencing large temperature variations during transit. Cost effective - A flexi tank holds the equivalent of 32,000 bottles compared to a standard container that carries approximately 12,000 bottles. Better for the environment.
    10. 10. Refrigerated ContainersWhether you choose bulk or bottled, youhave the option of a refrigerated container. Cost: Significantly more expensive. Quality: Greatly diminishes chance of product spoilage due to temperature variance. Alternative: Vin Liner
    11. 11. Shipping wine as a consumerOn a lesser scale, there are many options andissues to consider when shipping wine in smallquantities. Packaging materials Air or sea freight Taxes Cost Travel time
    12. 12. Packaging Corrugated cardboard boxes Heavy duty travel cases Polystyrene/Styrofoam Wine Skin
    13. 13. Environmental Concerns In todays society, the issue of environmental impact is a growing and valid concern. Carbon Footprint Food Miles Polyethylene Terephthalate (PET) bottles
    14. 14. Carbon Footprint Defined as the amount of greenhouse gases caused by an organisation. Growing number of wine producers are embracing carbon reducing programs. The New Zealand Wine Company (producers of Grove Mill and Sanctuary Wines) are the first winemakers to achieve CarboNZero certification.
    15. 15. Food Miles “The theory is that the further food has to travel to market, the worse its impact on the environment will be and that ecologically conscious buyers will always select the option with the lowest miles travelled”. (Graham, 2007) Debate over the use of food miles to protect domestic markets. Does not take into consideration other factors, including transport methods.
    16. 16. PET Bottles Lighter: Weigh approximately 50g compared to a 750ml glass bottle Environmentally friendly: Fully recyclable and as they are smaller you can fit more into a container, reducing fuel and carbon emissions.  Durable: Less likely to incur breakages than glass, making them ideal for outdoor events.
    17. 17. Moving to the Future Growing market for bulk wine shipments, especially to the United Kingdom. Emphasis on reducing carbon footprint. Consideration of alternatives to glass. Data logging to track temperature variations during transit.
    18. 18. ReferencesImages - click on photo in slide to activate link . Travel case, transport solution for wine & champagne. Retrieved August 10th, 2012, from . Flexi Tank Operating Image Gallery. Retrieved August 7th, 2012, from . U-Haul Moving Supplies: Wine Shipping Kits. Retrieved 10th August, 2012, from . Vin Liner. Retrieved August 12th, 2012, from . VittfarneGeorgien_155. Retrieved August 6th, 2012, from Hernandez, M. (2007). OLD WINE: Ship Photos Retrieved August 9th, 2012, from Johnson, N. (2010). Healing the Earth with Science. Retrieved from Just what is Wine Skin? Retrieved 8th August, 2012, from Mohan, A. M. (2011, September 15). Lightweight PET single-serve wine bottle Retrieved 9th August, 2012, from Wikipedia. Amphora Retrieved July 29th, 2012, from
    19. 19. ReferencesPublications . Etruscan Pottery. Retrieved August 2nd, 2012, from . JF Hillebrand. Retrieved August 11th, 2012, from . Vin Liner. Retrieved August 12th, 2012, from Brook, S. (2000). A Century of Wine: The Story of a Wine Revolution. San Francisco, California: Wine Appreciation Guild. Caillard, A. (2007). Missing in Action. Australian Gourmet Traveller WINE, 7, 30. Gerber, B. (2011). PET wine bottles - Plastic is fantastic. Graham, J. (2007). Can Wine go the Distance? Wine Business International, 4, 60-62. Greg, T. (2009). The History of Wine Part 3, Wine Storage Barrels Retrieved August 5th, 2012, from storage-barrels/?viewall=1 Hartley, A. (2008). Bulk Shipping of Wine and its Implications for Product Quality Retrieved August 2nd, 2012, from Johnson, H. (2004). The Story of Wine. London: Mitchell Beazley. Kemner, R. A Brief History of Wine Retrieved August 2nd, 2012, from Loftus, M. (2007, 1/7/2007). From Vine to Table. National Geographic Traveler, 24, 24. Macdonald, C. (2009, 1/7/2009). Thinking Inside the Box. E: The Environmental Magazine, 20, 12-14. Meyer, D. (2002). A Study of the Impact of Shipping/Transportation Conditions and Practices on Wine. Wynboer. Retrieved from Pocock, K. F., Waters, E. J., Herderich, M. J., & Pretorius, I. S. (2008). Protein stability tests and their effectiveness in predicting protein stability during storage and transport. Australian & New Zealand Wine Industry Journal, 23(2), 40-44. Srinivas, H. And now Food Miles Retrieved 8th August, 2012, from truebador. (2007). Globe of the Ancient World Retrieved July 29th, 2012, from Varriano, J. L. (2010). Wine: A Cultural History. London: Reaktion Books. Wall, T. (2009). How wine industry logistics operators can best prepare their transport operations to maximise efficiency. Australian & New Zealand Grapegrower& Winemaker, 89-91. Wikipedia. Carbon Footprint Retrieved August 2nd, 2012, from